Hurricane Beryl Bears Down on the Yucatán Peninsula (2024)

Pinned

The New York Times

Here is the latest on the storm.

Hurricane Beryl was churning toward the Yucatán Peninsula on Thursday after lashing Jamaica, charting a course of destruction through the Caribbean while putting the countries in its path on edge.

The storm has flattened islands, inundated communities and killed at least eight people. The earliest Category 5 hurricane ever recorded, it has lost some of its force, passed by the Cayman Islands without making landfall and was downgraded on Thursday afternoon to Category 2 strength, with wind speeds of 110 miles per hour. It is still bringing dangerous winds, storm surges and heavy rainfall.

In the Caymans, no significant damage, injuries or fatalities were reported.

Officials have confirmed eight deaths so far as a result of the storm: One in Grenada; two in Carriacou; one in St. Vincent and the Grenadines; three in northern Venezuela; and one in Jamaica.

Here are the key things to know about the storm:

  • Preparations in Mexico: Officials in Mexico warned that the country could be hit twice in the coming days. A hurricane warning is in effect for the coast of the Yucatán Peninsula., where forecasters expect Beryl to make landfall early Friday. It’s then expected to move to northern Mexico’s east coast early Monday. Forecasters said the storm could weaken further, but is likely to remain a hurricane at least until it hits the Yucatán.

  • Forecasters uncertain: Michael Brennan, the director of the National Hurricane Center in Miami, said there was some uncertainty about the effect that Beryl’s landfall in the Yucatán Peninsula would have on its intensity, noting that hurricanes generally weaken to a degree after moving over land.

  • Assessing the damage in Jamaica: Hundreds of thousands of households in Jamaica lost power, and several communities were flooded. Officials said that the full extent of the damage was not yet clear.

  • Effects could be felt in Texas: While it was not clear how strong Beryl would be after crossing the Yucatán, officials in Texas were bracing for heavy rain in much of the state from Monday through the middle of the week.

  • A record hurricane: Beryl is the earliest Category 5 hurricane on record in the Atlantic Ocean, according to Philip Klotzbach, a meteorologist at Colorado State University who specializes in tropical cyclones. The previous record was set by Hurricane Emily on July 17, 2005, he said. Beryl’s quick escalation was a direct result of the above-average sea surface temperatures as well as a harbinger of what is to come this hurricane season.

July 4, 2024, 4:27 p.m. ET

July 4, 2024, 4:27 p.m. ET

Ricardo Hernández Ruiz

Reporting from Cancún, Mexico

Tourists arrive in Cancún only to learn that Beryl is joining them.

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Anders Aasen and his family arrived on Thursday at Mexico’s Cancún International Airport after traveling for almost 24 hours from Norway, unaware that a hurricane was arriving there in a matter of hours.

“At the hotel they haven’t given us any information about what will happen or what we have to do,” said Mr. Aasen, 42, an entrepreneur, who had planned to travel between Cancún and Tulum with his wife and three children. He said the family had already spent $20,000 on their trip.

Tourists arriving at the airport on Thursday said that they had not been informed in advance that Hurricane Beryl was bearing down on the Yucatán Peninsula and that neither travel agencies nor hotels had notified them about safety measures.

On Thursday afternoon, Cancún’s airport was operating normally, with a significant flow of travelers, most of whom seemed unconcerned about the impending storm. An airport operator said that 946 flights had been scheduled for Thursday, and that 100 of them had been canceled. Tourist agencies and transportation companies at the airport said they would stop providing services around 6 p.m. local time, hours before Beryl’s expected landfall on the peninsula.

Macrina Hernández, 69, and Pilar Galindo Hernández, 73, were told that their evening flight to Mexico City was canceled and rescheduled for Friday afternoon. The two friends said they would have to spend the night in one of the 120 temporary shelters set up in the State of Quintana Roo, which is home to Cancún and the Riviera Maya.

As of Wednesday, there were 350,000 tourists in the state, according to Mexico’s Ministry of Tourism.

Source: National Hurricane Center All times on the map are Central time. Map shows probabilities of at least 5 percent. The forecast is for up to five days, with that time span starting up to three hours before the reported time that the storm reaches its latest location. Wind speed probability data is not available north of 60.25 degrees north latitude. By William B. Davis, John Keefe and Bea Malsky

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July 4, 2024, 4:17 p.m. ET

July 4, 2024, 4:17 p.m. ET

Anjana Sankar

Hurricane Beryl’s devastation sparks outcry for more climate action.

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Caribbean leaders grappling with Hurricane Beryl’s trail of destruction called for climate justice this week, and at least one drew a direct connection between the storm and climate change.

The cyclone, the earliest ever to reach Category 5 status, devastated islands, submerged communities and claimed at least eight lives in the Caribbean amid the widespread destruction in the region.

Caribbean leaders have slammed Western countries for not doing enough to mitigate the effects of climate change that have an outsize impact on smaller, less wealthy nations in the region.

Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell of Grenada, which was ravaged by Beryl, said that the storm was a direct result of global warming and that Grenada and countries like it were on the front line of the climate crisis.

“We are no longer prepared to accept that it’s OK for us to constantly suffer significant, clearly demonstrated loss and damage arising from climatic events and be expected to rebuild year after year while the countries that are responsible for creating this situation — and exacerbating this situation — sit idly by,” Mr. Mitchell said at a news conference on Tuesday.

“It is not right, it is not fair, it is not just,” he said.

Beryl strengthened from a tropical depression to a major hurricane in just 42 hours, and scientists say there is mounting evidence that more storms are experiencing such rapid intensification because of warming oceans. Warmer oceans add more strength to storms, fueling higher high wind speeds.

A recent study showed that rapid intensification is now twice as likely for Atlantic hurricanes, at least partly because of human-caused climate change driven by the burning of fossil fuels.

António Guterres, the United Nations secretary general, sounded an alarm Thursday, saying, “Our climate was breaking down, threatening water and food security, driving displacement, and fueling political instability.”

He said the world needs greater ambition to slash emissions and deliver climate justice, starting with the biggest emitters.

The 2015 Paris Agreement, the global accord designed to avert catastrophic climate change, requires countries to cut global emissions to net zero by 2050.

Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves of St. Vincent and the Grenadines said Monday that richer countries should honor their commitments to reduce emissions.

“For the major emitters of greenhouse gases, those who contribute most to global warning, you are getting a lot of talking, but you are not seeing a lot of action — as in making money available to small-island developing states and other vulnerable countries,” Mr. Gonsalves told reporters.

The Small and Island Developing States, a group of 39 states and 18 associate members that face unique social, economic and environmental vulnerabilities, lost $153 billion from 1970 to 2020 because of extreme weather, according to the United Nations.

As scientists highlight the role of climate change in fueling more intense storms that threaten vulnerable regional economies, Kamina Johnson Smith, Jamaica’s foreign minister, stressed the need for more action.

“We are even more resolved to work with the United Nations systems to seek just climate action,” Ms. Johnson Smith said on social media.

July 4, 2024, 4:00 p.m. ET

July 4, 2024, 4:00 p.m. ET

William Lamb

While it was not clear how strong Beryl would be after crossing the Yucatán, officials in Texas were bracing for heavy rain in much of the state from Monday through the middle of the week.

By William B. Davis, John Keefe and Bea Malsky

July 4, 2024, 3:58 p.m. ET

July 4, 2024, 3:58 p.m. ET

Johnny Diaz

Gulf oil rigs are being evacuated as Beryl approaches.

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Companies that operate oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico were evacuating some employees on Thursday as Hurricane Beryl approached.

Shell Oil said on Thursday that it was evacuating nonessential workers from its Perdido oil platform, which floats in about 8,000 feet of water some 200 miles south of Galveston, Texas.

The company said there were “no other impacts on our production” because of the hurricane.

BP said it was “in the process” of removing nonessential workers from its Mad Dog platform. “Safety is our top priority and we will continue to monitor weather conditions,” the company said.

Chevron said it was “closely monitoring” Beryl’s projected path.

“While nonessential personnel are being transported from our Gulf of Mexico facilities, production from our Chevron-operated assets remains at normal levels,” a spokesman said on Thursday.

The Gulf of Mexico is home to hundreds of active oil rigs and platforms, including major ones operated by key players including BP, Chevron, Shell and Exxon Mobil, according to marineinsight.com, a clearinghouse for marine industry news.

Oil production in the gulf fell for several years after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion caused the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history. But the gulf’s oil output has been rising over the last decade.

Even as political and corporate leaders have pledged to reduce planet-warming emissions to meet climate goals, oil companies are feeding a continuing demand for fossil fuels by expanding offshore oil and gas drilling into ever-deeper waters, especially in the Gulf of Mexico.

Oil companies and industry groups contend that offshore production is better for the planet than drilling on land, arguing that such operations emit far less of the greenhouse gasses that are warming the planet than equivalent production efforts on land.

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Hurricane Beryl Bears Down on the Yucatán Peninsula (6)

July 4, 2024, 3:41 p.m. ET

July 4, 2024, 3:41 p.m. ET

Ricardo Hernández Ruiz

Reporting from Cancún, Mexico

The Cancún International Airport has so far canceled 100 flights, Mara Lezama, Quintana Roo state governor, said Thursday. But despite the cancellations, the airport was unusually quiet. Everyone seemed to be going about their business as usual.

July 4, 2024, 3:33 p.m. ET

July 4, 2024, 3:33 p.m. ET

Emiliano Rodríguez Mega

Reporting from Mexico City

Also vulnerable to Beryl: Mexico’s nature reserves.

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At least three natural protected areas along the coast of the Mexican state of Quintana Roo are likely to bear some of the brunt of Hurricane Beryl as it reached the Yucatán Peninsula, said Fernando Orozco, the region’s coordinator of nature reserves.

Two of the protected areas, the Mexican Caribbean Biosphere Reserve and the Sian Kaʼan Reefs reserve, safeguard ecosystems that make up a section of the Mesoamerican Reef, the largest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere. The third, the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, comprises a complex system of underwater rivers, mangroves and cenotes — natural sinkholes dotting the peninsula — that is home to manatees, jaguars and tapirs.

A few fishing communities are also located in Sian Ka’an; all were evacuated earlier this week, officials said.

Mr. Orozco said he and his colleagues were bracing. “More than being worried, we are keeping busy,” he said, describing how, in the past few days, they had fueled up their vehicles, brought their boats ashore and ensured that their field stations — with storm-resistant windows installed — were secure.

Nature would inevitably take a hit given the strong winds. Some mangrove trees would likely snap and shallow corals would possibly break, he said.

According to Mexico’s meteorological service, Beryl is forecast to make landfall late Thursday night or early Friday morning. The storm is expected to bring wind gusts of 74 to 87 miles per hour, and drench the state of Quintana Roo — roughly the eastern half of the Yucatán Peninsula — with heavy rains and swells of 13 to 19 feet high. Landslides and flooding in low-lying areas are also expected.

But Mr. Orozco, who oversees the management of 36 nature reserves across the Yucatán, felt confident that the reefs and forests would also help weaken Beryl on its way inland.

“Keeping our ecosystems in a good state of conservation works as a mitigation barrier for these phenomena,” Mr. Orozco said. “I feel very calm.”

Officials were trying to convince residents in low-income neighborhoods in the municipality of Tulum, home to a picturesque coastal town on the Yucatán Peninsula, to evacuate as Beryl approached. Some were reluctant to leave, fearing that their homes would be looted. “We ask them to please, out of responsibility, try to leave," Diego Castañón, the mayor of Tulum, told reporters.

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July 4, 2024, 3:01 p.m. ET

July 4, 2024, 3:01 p.m. ET

Emiliano Rodríguez Mega

Reporting from Mexico City

Some of the residents of Felipe Carrillo Puerto, a town south of Tulum, were being taken to nearby shelters on Thursday afternoon, Mayor Mary Hernández said on social media. Smaller communities in the region, some of which have previously been cut off by heavy rains, were being evacuated.

July 4, 2024, 2:54 p.m. ET

July 4, 2024, 2:54 p.m. ET

Daphne Ewing-Chow

Reporting from George Town, Cayman Islands

Beryl passes by the Cayman Islands, with only minimal damage reported so far.

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Hurricane Beryl Bears Down on the Yucatán Peninsula (11)

Residents in the Cayman Islands are largely breathing a sigh of relief after Hurricane Beryl passed by at Category 3 strength on Thursday morning without making direct landfall.

There were no official reports of significant damage, injuries or fatalities. However, officials said they were still assessing the storm’s full impact.

As of 1 p.m. local time, government officials had issued an all clear for all three islands: Cayman Brac, Little Cayman and Grand Cayman, the largest of the three. Residents were advised to stay at home if possible and to avoid any water activities.

Premier Juliana O’Connor-Connolly said that damage to Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, known as the Sister Islands, was minimal. She said they had experienced a few breaches to roads and intermittent disruptions to water and power.

Geoffrey Marshall, 52, a finance manager who resides in a condo complex in South Sound, on Grand Cayman, said he woke up to the tide breaking in the street.

“When I woke this morning around 5 a.m., the center of the storm was passing to the south of the island where I’m located,” he said. “My concern was always storm surge. It was scary seeing the tide flowing over the road and down the street like a river.”

There were some power outages, mostly in George Town, the capital, and the West Bay area of Grand Cayman, and the water authority pre-emptively cut the water for all three islands on Wednesday night. By Thursday, that service was being restored.

In their address to the country, the premier and governor expressed gratitude that the Cayman Islands had escaped the worst.

“Thank you everybody for your patience and forbearance and thank you for staying where you are over the last few hours,” said Governor Jane Owen. “We have a long and active season still ahead, so we are asking the community to remain vigilant, keep supplies stocked and remain informed by our official government channels.”

Beryl was the first hurricane for Maddy Harrop, 27, who lives in Camana Bay on Grand Cayman.

“Last night was incredibly intense; the noise was terrifying, and we could see the power flickering on and off across the island,” she said. “It was a nerve-racking experience, but we feel fortunate that only a handful of trees came down near us, narrowly missing cars in the car park.”

“Our building community has been checking in on each other, which has been incredibly comforting,” she added.

Hurricane Beryl Bears Down on the Yucatán Peninsula (12)

July 4, 2024, 2:29 p.m. ET

July 4, 2024, 2:29 p.m. ET

Daphne Ewing-Chow

Reporting from George Town, Cayman Islands

The Cayman Islands government has issued an all clear to residents across all three islands, meaning the country is no longer under a hurricane warning.

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July 4, 2024, 2:15 p.m. ET

July 4, 2024, 2:15 p.m. ET

Johnny Diaz

Michael Brennan, the director of the National Hurricane Center in Miami, said there is some uncertainty about the effect that Beryl's landfall in Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula would have on its intensity. "If you have a system that goes over land," he said, "it will cut off that energy source of the warm ocean."

July 4, 2024, 1:58 p.m. ET

July 4, 2024, 1:58 p.m. ET

William Lamb

Beryl is now a Category 2 hurricane. Its windspeed dropped slightly, to 110 miles per hour from 115 m.p.h., as it moved across the northwestern Caribbean Sea, according to the latest advisory from the National Hurricane Center.

Hurricane Beryl Bears Down on the Yucatán Peninsula (15)

July 4, 2024, 1:26 p.m. ET

July 4, 2024, 1:26 p.m. ET

Daphne Ewing-Chow

Reporting from George Town, Cayman Islands

About an hour ago, the Cayman Islands said the all clear had been issued for Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, but Grand Cayman remained under a hurricane warning.

July 4, 2024, 1:20 p.m. ET

July 4, 2024, 1:20 p.m. ET

Emiliano Rodríguez Mega

Reporting from Mexico City

The authorities in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo are focusing their attention on a range of 24 miles where Beryl is expected to make direct landfall, the governor, Mara Lezama, said on social media on Thursday. The area, which is south of Cancún, includes 60 cities and towns that are home to a total of about 24,000 people.

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July 4, 2024, 12:57 p.m. ET

July 4, 2024, 12:57 p.m. ET

Emiliano Rodríguez Mega

Reporting from Mexico City

In Cancún, there was no sign that the hurricane would be arriving soon. The view from Jesús Almaguer’s condo apartment showed the sun bathing one of Mexico’s most popular tourist destinations.

“We have a very strong hurricane culture,” said Mr. Almaguer, 62, president of the local hotel association. Some businesses install storm-resistant structures and many people stockpile basic necessities ahead of hurricane season. Perhaps the most significant measure hotels have taken in the face of Beryl’s arrival, Mr. Almaguer said, has been to suspend alcohol sales to their guests: “We want to keep people more alert and more attentive.”

July 4, 2024, 12:03 p.m. ET

July 4, 2024, 12:03 p.m. ET

Jovan Johnson

Reporting from Kingston, Jamaica

Some parts of Jamaica are facing ‘complete devastation,’ officials say.

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Jamaicans were slowly picking up the pieces on Thursday following the passage of Hurricane Beryl, which claimed at least one life, devastated farmlands, roads and houses and left thousands in darkness.

Beryl caused “significant dislocation and damage,” Dana Morris Dixon, the information minister, said in a statement on Thursday. She said the government had transitioned into assessment and response mode. A national curfew ended Thursday morning. Emergency and relief officials are touring affected areas.

The situation has been particularly brutal in St. Elizabeth, in the southwest, the country’s “breadbasket” for its supply of key agricultural goods. Treasure Beach, a popular tourist destination, was battered, with many homes losing their roofs to Beryl’s fury.

“Southwest St. Elizabeth is facing complete devastation,” said Floyd Green, a member of Parliament and Jamaica’s agriculture minister.

A woman was killed after a tree fell on her house in western Jamaica, the island’s disaster agency reported on Wednesday night. A 20-year-old man is feared dead after he was swept away by raging floodwaters in a gully in Kingston, the capital. More than 1,000 people were in shelters as of Thursday morning.

Still, officials say the destruction could have been far worse.

“The damage was not what we had expected, and so we’re very grateful for that,” Prime Minister Andrew Holness told CNN. “I think Jamaica was spared the worst.”

Power and water supplies were slowly being restored to the hard-hit areas of the eastern and southern parishes of Kingston, the capital, Portland and St. Thomas, Manchester, St Elizabeth and Clarendon.

The storm passed as a ferocious Category 4 hurricane just off Jamaica’s southern coast. More than 60 percent of customers were without water and light as of Thursday morning, representatives of the main providers told local media.

Downed utility poles, trees and debris covered many damaged roadways. “The whole place mash up,” Steve Taylor, a resident of the low-lying coastal town of Mitchell Town, told the local television station, Television Jamaica.

Sangster International Airport, located in the tourism mecca of Montego Bay on the northwestern end of the island, was expected to reopen on Thursday, Daryl Vaz, the transport minister, said in a statement posted on social media. However, the country’s main airport in Kingston, Norman Manley, remained closed as the authorities repaired the roof of the passenger pier for boarding and arrivals. It’s expected to reopen on Friday, Mr. Vaz said.

The government said public sector workers could return to work, while some commercial institutions have called in their employees. Schools, some which have suffered infrastructure damage, have closed for the summer. Jamaica’s central bank advised that it would remain closed until Friday.

July 4, 2024, 11:55 a.m. ET

July 4, 2024, 11:55 a.m. ET

William Lamb

Shell Oil said it was evacuating nonessential workers from a floating oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico. The platform, called Perdido, is located about 200 miles south of Galveston, Texas, in about 8,000 feet of water. The company said there were “no other impacts on our production” because of the hurricane.

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July 4, 2024, 11:47 a.m. ET

July 4, 2024, 11:47 a.m. ET

Emiliano Rodríguez Mega

Reporting from Mexico City

The Mexican government is rushing to prepare for Beryl’s arrival. The authorities have deployed more than 13,000 officials and members of the armed forces — along with rescue dogs, mobile kitchens and water treatment plants — to Quintana Roo, a southern state facing the Caribbean that will be the first to feel the storm’s impact.

Some preventive evacuations have taken place in municipalities that will bear the brunt of Beryl’s force, including Tulum and Felipe Carrillo Puerto. In total, 120 emergency shelters are being set up across the state, both in urban and rural areas.

Conozcan y ubiquen los refugios 🏡 de primera apertura que hemos habilitado en todo #QuintanaRoo, ante el impacto del huracán #Beryl 🌀 en nuestras costas.

Aquí pueden📍ubicar el albergue más cercano: https://t.co/fHlT4OMTer

¡Todos los servicios de emergencia se encuentran… pic.twitter.com/sfvg3wYxJk

— Mara Lezama (@MaraLezama) July 3, 2024

July 4, 2024, 11:20 a.m. ET

July 4, 2024, 11:20 a.m. ET

Emiliano Rodríguez Mega

Reporting from Mexico City

Preparations for Beryl’s arrival are underway across Mexico, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said at a news conference on Thursday morning. The storm is projected to hit the country twice in the coming days: It will first arrive in the Yucatán Peninsula and then, after traversing the Gulf of Mexico, it is expected to reach the coast of the northern state of Tamaulipas. In Cancún, yachts were clustered in an inland waterway for protection.

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July 4, 2024, 11:11 a.m. ET

July 4, 2024, 11:11 a.m. ET

Johnny Diaz

Hurricane Beryl is continuing to move west-northwest away from the Cayman Islands as a Category 3 storm, with sustained winds of 115 miles per hour. The storm system is expected to produce strong winds, “a dangerous storm surge” and damaging winds on the coast of Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula by early Friday, the National Hurricane Center said.

July 3, 2024, 12:20 p.m. ET

July 3, 2024, 12:20 p.m. ET

Lynsey Chutel

The destruction on Carriacou and Petite Martinique islands captured in satellite images.

As Hurricane Beryl churns toward Jamaica, the islands devastated in its path reckoned with the scale of the destruction on Wednesday.

In Grenada, satellite imagery showed flattened houses and buildings without roofs. Grenada’s islands of Carriacou and Petite Martinique bore the brunt of the damage. Officials said roughly 98 percent of the islands’ buildings had been destroyed.

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In Argyle, a popular tourist town with dozens of vacation rentals in Carriacou, before-and-after images showed structures reduced to rubble.

The island’s docks, usually filled with boats, were empty. Along the northeast coastline of Carriacou, damage continued far inland, satellite imagery showed. With tourism as one of the island’s main sources of income, the airport and some hotels reopened as cleanup operations began, the Grenada Hotel and Tourism Association said.

Despite the extensive damage, so far the death toll appeared to be low. In Grenada, officials reported three deaths from the storm, two of them in Carriacou.

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Officials said the Category 4 storm had knocked out the power supply on the islands, while damaged roads had cut off some of Carriacou and Petite Martinique’s roughly 9,000 residents. Nearly a third of Grenada’s water supply had been disrupted, according to the National Water and Sewerage Authority.

Christiaan Triebert contributed reporting.

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July 2, 2024, 1:28 p.m. ET

July 2, 2024, 1:28 p.m. ET

The New York Times

In photos and video

The hurricane roars through the Caribbean.

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Hurricane Beryl battered Jamaica on Wednesday and was moving across the Cayman Islands on Thursday after leaving a trail of destruction through the Caribbean, resulting in at least seven deaths, houses destroyed and trees snapped in half.

The storm first hit Carriacou, a small island that is part of Grenada, on Monday morning where it flattened the island in just half an hour, while also causing extreme damage to neighboring Petite Martinique.

Carriacou is known for its coral reefs and diving spots, while people on Petite Martinique are mostly involved in fishing and boat building. The two islands have a combined population of at least 9,000 people.

The storm was an anomaly in what has already been an unusually busy storm season, which extends until the end of November. When it developed into a Category 4 storm on Sunday, it was the third major hurricane ever in the Atlantic Ocean in June — and the first time a Category 4 materialized this early there in the season.

The storm continued to set records, becoming the first ever Atlantic storm to grow into a Category 5 this early in the season, according to Philip Klotzbach, a Colorado State University meteorologist who specializes in tropical cyclones.

The storm’s rapid strengthening was a direct result of above-average sea surface temperatures, as well as a harbinger of what might be coming this hurricane season. A hurricane that intensifies faster can be more dangerous because it gives people in areas projected to be affected less time to prepare and evacuate.

Thursday

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People clean up after Hurricane Beryl in Old Harbor, Jamaica.

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An aerial view of a home damaged by Hurricane Beryl in Kingston.

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Hurricane Beryl Bears Down on the Yucatán Peninsula (25)

Storm surge rushes over a pier in East End, Cayman Islands.

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A man fixes a power cord at his house in Kingston.

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Residents clean up after Hurricane Beryl hit the island, in Hellshire Beach, Jamaica.

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A worker uses heavy machinery to clean up sand and debris in Kingston.

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Properties are boarded up as a precaution ahead of Hurricane Beryl’s arrival in Tulum, Mexico.

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Members of the Mexican National Guard remove broken glass ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Beryl, in Tulum, Mexico.

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Tourists wait to depart at Cancún International Airport ahead of Hurricane Beryl, in Cancún, Mexico.

Wednesday

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Hurricane Beryl Bears Down on the Yucatán Peninsula (26)

Strong winds batter palm trees in Montego Bay, Jamaica.

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Flooded streets in Kingston.

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A destroyed dock at a marina in Boca Chica, Dominican Republic.

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Residents of Union Island evacuated to Kingstown, St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

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Hurricane Beryl Bears Down on the Yucatán Peninsula (27)

Boats are piled on top of one another in Bridgetown, Barbados.

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Workers install wood boards on a building’s windows ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Beryl, in Playa del Carmen, Mexico

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Hurricane Beryl Bears Down on the Yucatán Peninsula (28)

City officials in Cancún, Mexico, removed sea-turtle eggs from Playa Delfines in preparation for Hurricane Beryl.

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A beach covered in garbage after the passage of Hurricane Beryl, in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

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People purchasing supplies at a grocery store ahead of Hurricane Beryl’s landfall.

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A resident places cinderblocks along a roof before Hurricane Beryl arrives in Kingston.

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Boats moved from the water for safety, ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Beryl, in Punta Allen, Mexico.

Tuesday

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Destruction in Petite Martinique, Grenada.

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A damaged house missing its roof in Sauteurs, Grenada.

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A resident removing mud after floods swept through Cumanacoa, Venezuela.

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Hurricane Beryl Bears Down on the Yucatán Peninsula (29)

Waves crashing on the coast of Santo Domingo.

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Workers chopping an uprooted tree in St. James, Barbados.

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Hurricane Beryl Bears Down on the Yucatán Peninsula (30)

Residents walking amid the debris of damaged buildings in Union Island, St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

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A satellite image shows Hurricane Beryl hurtling toward Jamaica.

Monday

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The coast line in Oistins, Barbados, after Hurricane Beryl passed over.

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Hurricane Beryl Bears Down on the Yucatán Peninsula (31)

Waves strand a boat on the shores of St. Vincent.

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Damage in Soufrière, St. Lucia.

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People positioning a trailer to move a boat from the street near St. James.

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Damaged outdoor furniture in Christ Church, Barbados.

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Hurricane Beryl Bears Down on the Yucatán Peninsula (32)

Streets within Bay Garden, a popular attraction in Oistins were covered in debris.

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Damaged fishing vessels clog a harbor after Hurricane Beryl passed through the Bridgetown Fisheries in Barbados.

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Long lines at a grocery store in Kingston.

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Braving a walk down a pier in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.

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The airport in Piarco, Trinidad and Tobago, where a flight board showed several cancellations, and a leak in the roof closed off a portion of the floor.

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Hurricane Beryl Bears Down on the Yucatán Peninsula (33)

Strong winds and waves crashing onto Dover Beach in Christ Church.

May 23, 2024, 10:57 a.m. ET

May 23, 2024, 10:57 a.m. ET

Judson Jones

Judson Jones is a meteorologist and reporter for The Times.

NOAA predicts an abnormally busy hurricane season.

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Hurricane Beryl Bears Down on the Yucatán Peninsula (35)

In yet another dire warning about the coming Atlantic hurricane season, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Thursday predicted that this year could see between 17 to 25 named tropical cyclones, the most it has ever forecast in May for the Atlantic Ocean.

The NOAA forecast joins more than a dozen other recent projections from experts at universities, private companies and other government agencies that have predicted a likelihood of 14 or more named storms this season; many were calling for well over 20.

Rick Spinrad, the NOAA administrator, said at a news conference on Thursday morning that the agency’s forecasters believed eight to 13 of the named storms could become hurricanes, meaning they would include winds of at least 74 miles per hour. Those could include four to seven major hurricanes — Category 3 or higher — with winds of at least 111 m.p.h.

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According to NOAA, there is an 85 percent chance of an above-normal season and a 10 percent chance of a near-normal season, with a 5 percent chance of a below-normal season. An average Atlantic hurricane season has 14 named storms, including seven hurricanes and three major hurricanes.

While it only takes one storm in a below-average season to devastate a community, having conditions conducive to almost twice the average amount of storms makes it more likely that North America will experience a tropical storm or, worse, a major hurricane.

There are 21 entries on this year’s official list of storm names, from Alberto to William. If that list is exhausted, the National Weather Service moves on to an alternative list of names, something it’s only had to do twice in its history.

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NOAA typically issues a May forecast and then an updated forecast in August. Before Thursday, NOAA’s most significant May forecast was in 2010, when it forecast 14 to 23 named storms; that year, 19 ultimately formed before the end of the season. In 2020, the May forecast was for 13 to 19 named storms, but an updated forecast for August was even higher, with 19 to 25 named storms. That season ultimately saw 30 named storms.

The hurricane outlooks this year have been notably aggressive because of the unprecedented conditions expected.

Preparing for Hurricane Season

As forecasters look toward the official start of the season on June 1, they see combined circ*mstances that have never occurred in records dating to the mid-1800s: record warm water temperatures in the Atlantic and the potential formation of La Niña weather pattern.

Brian McNoldy, a researcher at the University of Miami who specializes in hurricane formation, said that without a previous example involving such conditions, forecasters trying to predict the season ahead could only extrapolate from previous outliers.

Experts are concerned by warm ocean temperatures.

“I think all systems are go for a hyperactive season,” said Phil Klotzbach, an expert in seasonal hurricane forecasts at Colorado State University.

The critical area of the Atlantic Ocean where hurricanes form is already abnormally warm just ahead of the start of the season. Benjamin Kirtman, a professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Miami, earlier described the conditions as “unprecedented,” “alarming” and an “out-of-bounds anomaly.”

Daily sea surface temperatures in the main area where hurricanes form

Source: Climate Reanalyzer, Climate Change Institute at the University of Maine, based on data from NOAA Optimum Interpolation Sea Surface Temperature (OISST) Note: Data through May 20, 2024. By The New York Times

Over the past century, those temperatures have increased gradually. But last year, with an intensity that unnerved climate scientists, the waters warmed even more rapidly in a region of the Atlantic where most hurricanes form. This region, from West Africa to Central America, is hotter this year than it was before the start of last year’s hurricane season, which produced 20 named storms.

The current temperatures in the Atlantic are concerning because they mean the ocean is poised to provide additional fuel to any storm that forms. Even if the surface suddenly cools, the temperatures below the surface, which are also remarkably above average, are expected to reheat the surface temperatures rapidly.

These warmer temperatures can give energy to the formation of storms — and help sustain them. Sometimes, if no other atmospheric conditions hinder a storm’s growth, they can intensify more rapidly than usual, jumping hurricane categories in less than a day.

Combined with the rapidly subsiding El Niño weather pattern in early May, the temperatures are leading to mounting confidence among forecasting experts that there will be an exceptionally high number of storms this hurricane season.

A parting El Niño and a likely La Niña are increasing confidence in the forecasts.

El Niño is caused by changing ocean temperatures in the Pacific and affects weather patterns globally. When it is strong, it typically thwarts the development and growth of storms. Last year, the warm ocean temperatures in the Atlantic blunted El Niño’s effect to do that. If El Niño subsides, as forecasters expect, there won’t be much to blunt the season this time.

Forecasters specializing in the ebbs and flows of El Niño, including Michelle L’Heureux with the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center, are pretty confident not only that El Niño will subside but that there is a high likelihood — 77 percent — that La Niña will form during the peak of hurricane season.

The system could throw a curve ball, she said, but at this point in the spring, things are evolving as forecasters have anticipated. A La Niña weather pattern would already have them looking toward an above-average year. The possibility of a La Niña, combined with record sea surface temperatures this hurricane season, is expected to create a robust environment this year for storms to form and intensify.

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